books

The Sentinel by Lee & Andrew Child

When Lee Child announced his retirement after the 25th novel in the Jack Reacher series, fans like me were disappointed.

The 26th book is The Sentinel (2020) co-authored by James Grant and his younger brother Andrew Grant but published using their respective pen names of Lee Child and Andrew Child.

Sounds like the much younger brother did most of the writing.

He’s taking over the franchise.

Happily, Sentinel is excellent.

In this one, Reacher battles those behind a ransomware cyber attack in a small town a couple of hours out of Nashville.

related – A bad review of the book.

books, TV

Abaddon’s Gate by James S. A. Corey

Abaddon’s Gate is 3rd in The Expanse series — preceded by Leviathan Wakes and Caliban’s War

James Holden and his crew have been successful in their ship-for-hire business, cashing in on their celebrity …

But things go wrong when our crew goes first through the Stargate called “The Ring”.

They have a camera crew onboard.

Abaddon’s Gate was adapted into episodes 7 to 13 of the third season of the television series The Expanse in 2018, with its title taken for the final episode of that season.

This is one of those rare series where the TV show is better than the books.

I find the books too slow.

video

My BEST video, so far

December 1, 2020.

Or is it March 273rd ??

One #COVIDgoal of mine was to improve my video editing. I’ve spent many hundreds of hours working on it. Put together dozens of videos.

Not my best. Not my most important. But my favourite video so far is this glimpse into my daily coffee break at dawn Rathtrevor Beach.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

If forced to show my work to real videographers, that’s the one I’d show.

In the past I was terrified of audio. My first inclination was to delete all audio. Replace it with a musical soundtrack.

But in recent weeks audio has been my favourite part of editing. Selecting the right music critical.

Here’s some state of the art videography. Pros attempting to duplicate big budget Hollywood cinematography with relatively inexpensive gimbals that hobbyists can afford.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

anti-smoking, health & fitness

The Barkley Marathons

Hardest and dumbest race in the world.

The Barkley Marathons is an ultramarathon trail race held in Frozen Head State Park near Wartburg, Tennessee.

If runners complete 60 miles (97 km) this is known as a “fun run.”

The full course is 100+ miles (160 km) (distances are approximate). The race is limited to a 60-hour period, and takes place in late March or early April of each year. …

The full, five-loop race has been completed 18 times by 15 runners as of the 2019 event. …

Jared Campbell finished 3 times. #respect

Click PLAY or watch Gary Robbins‘ – 2016 & 2017 races on YouTube. What a man!

I’m happy for John Kelly too, a 2017 finisher.

books

“A” Is for Alibi by Sue Grafton

Sue Grafton (April 24, 1940 – December 28, 2017) was an American author of detective novels. She is best known as the author of the “alphabet series” (“A” Is for Alibi, etc.) featuring private investigator Kinsey Millhone in the fictional city of Santa Teresa, California.  …

Grafton described Kinsey Millhone as her alter ego, “the person I might have been had I not married young and had children.” …

The first book in the series is easy reading.

Her style has been described as “laconic, breezy, wise-cracking”. It reminds me a bit of the Harlan Coben books featuring crime solver / sports agent Myron Bolitar.

Not literature.

In “A” Is for Alibi (1982) Kinsey, age-32, investigates the death of prominent divorce lawyer eight years earlier. His wife was convicted of murder.

When the wife is released on parole, she hires Kinsey to find the real killer.

Good stuff. I recommend it.

economics, health & fitness

Post Corona optimism

Over the past year my main economics / tech guru has been Professor Scott Galloway.

He summarized his thinking in a new book:

Post Corona: From Crisis to Opportunity

I’ve not been so optimistic about the future since February 2020.

IF we can survive another 6 months or so — psychologically, financially — we could see another boom like the Roaring Twenties.

A new Roaring Twenties.

… a period of economic prosperity … Everything seemed possible through modern technology …

That’s how people reacted after the pandemic of 1918.

We got lucky this time. Vaccine technology has improved so quickly that I’m likely to get the Oxford before having to join the herd immunity segment of the population.

IF the majority of the population has either had the virus or taken one of the vaccines, I might be able to avoid it myself.

IF only 5% of those who were infected have lifelong problems — and most of those not too serious — …

OK. This is the most optimistic scenario.

Hope for the best. Plan for the worst.

books, human rights, TV

Troubled Blood by Robert Galbraith

Troubled Blood (2020) is the fifth novel in the Cormoran Strike series …

I ASSume Galbraith is a moral man — respecting human rights.

Cormoran Strike is as irritable and irritating as ever.

We can’t imagine why partner Robin Ellacott likes him as a boss — or for possible romance.

Happily, Robin finally divorced her husband. What a relief.

Troubled Blood is well written. But I enjoyed it least of the series, so far.

The 40 year old cold case is too long, too slow. I definitely couldn’t get into it.

More insight into Strike’s odd family was interesting. In fact, all the other story lines were engaging.

I’ll definitely be continuing with the series, even if it turns out Galbraith is a horrible person in real life.

photos, product endorsements

Editing PHOTOS with Pixelmator Pro

Kraig recommended this software. And I’m going to buy it. CAD $55.

Pixelmator Pro is Mac only. It supports the new (2020) M1-chip and macOS Big Sur.

Below is a Pixelmator edit of an iPhone X 4K original. I followed the official tutorials.

What you see below is a smaller version for web. But if you click on it — you’ll be able to see the full size original.

I’d long wanted to quit free Apple Photos software that comes with every Mac. Never liked it. Unfortunately Apple keeps you locked into the ecosystem. Happily, Pixelmator Pro works hand in hand with the Photos app. No conflict.

I’m also tested the Sony Imaging Edge software (horrible) and Capture One 20 Express (free). But Capture One 20 non-Express is too expensive – at least $10 / month.

I have Gimp (free) but find it pretty complicated.

This video show the fantastic interface of Pixelmator Pro.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

books

Song for the Dark Times by Ian Rankin

A Song for the Dark Times (2020) is the 23rd Rebus book by Ian Rankin.

I’ve read them all.

This one is as good as ever. Despite Rebus being long retired. I said goodbye (the first time) in 2007 with Exit Music.

Rebus had to move to ground floor residence as he can no longer do stairs. And he keeps his inhaler at the ready.

Brexit looms. But there’s no talk of COVID-19.

When his daughter Samantha calls in the dead of night, John Rebus knows it’s not good news. Her husband has been missing for two days.

Rebus fears the worst – and knows from his lifetime in the police that his daughter will be the prime suspect.

He wasn’t the best father – the job always came first – but now his daughter needs him more than ever. But is he going as a father or a detective?

ianrankin.net

My brother Randy linked to this video of a recent discussion of aging characters: Rebus v Harry Bosch.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.